THE anti-corruption war being waged by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration got a big boost on Tuesday after the removal from office of the former Director General of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura. Already, the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, has settled the rift between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC, and the Department of State Services ,DSS, which had, under Daura, stood against Ibrahim Magu and his agency from investigating or arresting top security chiefs, suspected to have been involved in large scale cash movements.
Apart from standing against the confirmation of Magu as the substantive chairman of the EFCC, Daura also discredited the EFCC boss and blocked his agency from arresting former heads of the DSS and the National Intelligence Agency,NIA, in November lasts year. According to Daura, no other agency had any right to probe into the expenditure of the DSS, NIA and other security outfits, as doing so, was against the law establishing them.
But Osinbajo on Tuesday cleared the way for all the officials of security agencies who had been fingered in the disappearance of about N80 billion last year, to be investigated and possibly charged to court.
A top source close to the Presidency confirmed to Saturday Vanguard that Osinbajo had given full support to the EFCC and the DSS to trace the whereabouts of the cash and retrieve it without further delay. “It is in connection with the recovery of the huge cash that the Acting President met twice with the acting heads of DSS and EFCC for two consecutive days and ordered them to work together in order to trace and recover the money from whoever might have taken a penny out of it.
“You can see that the two heads are actually moving to actualise the directive of the presidency and Nigerians will soon hear of the outcome of the synergy between the two agencies headed by Magu and Seifeya,” the source explained yesterday. Top on the list of cash to be investigated by the DSS in conjunction with the EFCC is $289,202,382 (N57.8bn) given to the National Intelligence Agency and another N20 billion, which was reportedly handed over to the DSS prior to the 2015 election.
However, while part of the $289 million given to the NIA was later found in an Ikoyi apartment in Lagos, nothing has been heard of the cash given to the DSS, which prompted the EFCC to launch a probe last November but was stalled when Daura unleashed his men to chase away the EFCC operatives.
Saturday Vanguard learnt that Thursday’s invitation of the former head of the DSS, Mr. Ita Ekpenyong, by the EFCC was not an indictment on him but to enable him to share with EFCC vital information relating to cash left behind by him. It was gathered that Daura never wanted the information to be released to the EFCC while he was in charge given the fact that the cash reportedly left behind by Ekpenyong disappeared within a week of his departure from the agency.
On the other hand, the NIA cash, which the former head of the agency claimed was ‘given to him to carry out some unspecified security assignments’, is to be pursued to a logical conclusion and all those found culpable to face trial to serve as a deterrent.